Part of the plant used: flower, leaf and berry.
This thorny shrub reaches 2 to 5 meters high, and sometimes up to 7,5 meters. Its medicinal value has been known for centuries but its popularity has really soared in late 19th century in Europe as well as North America. The flowerheads, leaves and fruits were used to treat disturbances of arterial pressure and heart rhythm.
Hawthorn contains flavonoids, cardiotonic amines as well as several other active principles. Its therapeutic value in the treatment of cardiovascular diseases has been extensively studied: hawthorn appears to show strong cardiac activity. It can increase coronary blood flow, the heart's force of contraction as well as cardiac rate, making it useful in the treatment of heart failure. It should however never be used without proper medical monitoring.
160 to 900 mg of a standardized dry extract of hawthorn leaf with flower extract (2 to 3% flavonoids or 18 to 20% procyanidins) in 2 to 3 divided doses daily.
There is insufficient reliable information to conclude that hawthorn is effective in any other indication.
In 2004, Canada adopted new regulations that control the manufacturing, packaging, labeling and importing of natural health products. The new regulations also include an adverse reaction reporting system. Products that conform to the regulation's criteria are identified with a natural product number (NPN) and can be legally sold in Canada. This number indicates that the product meets specific criteria for safety and purity, not that it is effective for any indication.
Medicinal plant contents vary naturally from plant to plant - just as fruits from the same package may vary in taste and texture. There is no standard to measure the active content of each plant. Thus, efficacy of natural products should be expected to vary from brand to brand as well as from bottle to bottle of the same brand.
For more information about the Natural Health Products Regulations, or to check if a product has been assessed, visit the Health Canada website at www.hc-sc.gc.ca/dhp-mps/prodnatur/index-eng.php.
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